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Ex-Kyrgyz President Atambaev Accused Of Plotting Coup


A mugshot of former Kyrgyz President Almazbek Atambaev taken by police after his arrest on August 8.

BISHKEK -- Kyrgyz security officials have accused former President Almazbek Atambaev of plotting to stage a coup after a deadly confrontation with police during his arrest last week.

Zamir Beishekeev of the Prosecutor-General's Office said on August 13 that Atambaev is accused of using violence against representatives of the authorities, organizing mass unrest, and masterminding a murder attempt, among other charges.

Speaking at the same press conference in Bishkek, the head of the State National Security Committee, Orozbek Opumbaev, accused the ex-president of planning to carry out a coup.

Atambaev surrendered to police on August 8 following a deadly two-day standoff with security forces at his residential compound in the village of Koi-Tash near the capital.

Kyrgyz Ex-President Detained After Special-Forces Officer Dies In Raid On His Compound
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The violence underscored a power struggle between Atambaev and his handpicked successor, Sooronbai Jeenbekov, that has raised fears of instability in the Central Asian nation.

The resistance put up by the former president and his supporters resulted in the death of one special forces officer and more than 170 others injured, including 79 law enforcement officers, Interior Minister Kashkar Junushaliev told reporters.

Opumbaev called the death of the officer a "cynical murder."

The move to detain Atambaev was sparked by his refusal to obey three subpoenas calling him to the Interior Ministry for questioning.

Kyrgyz authorities had said that Atambaev faced five counts of criminally abusing his office when he was Kyrgyzstan's president from 2011 to 2017 -- including corruption, abuse of office, and illegally enriching himself.

The storming of the compound came after Deputy Interior Minister Mirlan Kanimetov and several other officials visited Atambaev on July 22 after he had refused to obey a subpoena for a third time.

Under Kyrgyz law, a person who refuses to comply with two subpoenas can be forcibly detained for questioning.

After parliament on June 27 voted to strip immunity from prosecution for former presidents, the embattled Atambaev has spent most of his time at his residential compound and has publicly stated that he has weapons.

His lawyer has called the immunity vote unconstitutional.

Kyrgyzstan saw a smooth and peaceful transfer of power from Atambaev to Jeenbekov, which was welcomed by the international community after two other presidential changes -- in 2005 and 2010 -- came after violent rioting.

The former Soviet republic remains closely allied with Russia, which operates a military base in the northern Kyrgyz town of Kant.

Last month, Atambaev flew on a private plane to Moscow to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin.